Bikers to give breast cancer a rev

2010-10-06 00:00

TRAVELLING light, breast cancer survivors will be coasting through South Africa on Harley Davidsons to educate and raise awareness.

Running for the third year, the Revlon Journey of Hope Breast Cancer Awareness Ride will accelerate off the starting line on Saturday.

The day before will see the riders make a practice run in Pietermaritzburg and some entertaining comedy from Shimmy Isaacs at Meadowfeeds.

The ride is to raise awareness about breast cancer and facilitate educational sessions, especially in communities which have restricted access to information.

The campaign aims to raise funds to offer support to women who need reconstructive surgery or prostheses after breast removal, or who require mammograms or breast cancer screening tests.

“Many women find it very difficult to talk about something as personal as breast cancer and this campaign … is a production. We’re giving breast cancer a voice,” says Isaacs.

The 2 100 km ride will start in Durban, travel through KwaZulu-Natal, Gauteng, North West, Free State, Western Cape and skid to a halt in Cape Town.

Celebrity guest rider Janie du Plessis, now in her 11th year as a breast cancer survivor, said: “There’s so much to say about a journey. We all have our stories that we share and ones that we just cannot.

“I’ve often felt alone in mine … Riding my Harley through our country is how I’d like to express [my journey]”.

Said Journey of Hope managing director Frieda Henning, “Too many women die of breast cancer when they could have been successfully treated.

For this reason, the core purpose of the [ride] is to communicate positive messages of survival in a unique way — promoting hope, health, positivity and celebration of life.”

Amy Jansen, a rider who is a six- year survivor, said: “I am a biker chick and I love life. Breast cancer is not the best thing that has happened to me, but it has brought out the best in me … When I think back to my early diagnosis, the emotions come back to me, but I realise we all have our bumps down the road, and this was just one of mine.”

For more information, visit www.journeyofhope.co.za or call Carol Carpenter (Meadowfeeds) at 033 392 9175 or Liezl Dick (Journey of Hope) on 072 252 1228.

• Anyone can be affected by breast cancer, regardless of race, age or gender. Men have breast tissue and do in fact get breast cancer, though the occurrence is relatively low compared to women.

•Mammograms are a safe procedure and radiation exposure during a mammogram is equivalent to that on an aeroplane flight. The minute radiation exposure will not necessarily cause breast cancer.

•There is no known prevention. Early detection and prompt treatment offers you the most successful chance against the disease.

•Most women who are diagnosed with cancer do not die from the disease. Breast cancer is highly curable for women who are diagnosed early and 95% of patients are alive 10 years down the line.

•A negative sonar or scan may not be accurate as it is largely dependent on the accuracy of the person reading the slide. If you feel a lump and are unsatisfied with the report, get a second opinion.

•Most women have lumps in their breasts and most lumps are not cancerous, but your physician should evaluate all new and unusual lumps (even towards and in the armpit) or breast changes as soon as possible.

•More than 50% of women diagnosed with breast cancer have no identifiable risk factors for the disease.

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